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January 23, 2019

E-listing to remove rogue sawmillers

Acting Chief Conservator of Forests Monica Kalenda on April 19 /JACK OWUOR
Acting Chief Conservator of Forests Monica Kalenda on April 19 /JACK OWUOR

The Kenya Forest Service is starting electronic registration to weed out unscrupulous saw millers who destroy forests.

Acting chief conservator Monica Kalenda on Friday said saw millers will no longer be registered manually. Kalenda said e-registration will start in two to three weeks. She said the pre-qualification will be done and registered electronically. “There will be no interaction with saw millers to curb collusion,” she said in her office.

Kalenda said the management of saw millers has in the recent past caused wanton destruction of forests.

“The service has found it imperative to commence fresh pre-qualification of saw millers to identify authentic industry players,” she said.

The service has also sent demand letters to saw millers who have not paid up after cutting trees.

“It is a matter of great concern to the KFS board that the service is owed Sh1.2 billion in unpaid money by saw millers. A demand letter has been issued to all the debtors to clear the bills in 14 days commencing today. Failure to adhere to this directive will lead to disqualification,” Kalenda said.

More than 600 millers have not paid the service. There are more than 800 saw millers.

Kalenda said going forward, saw milers will be required to present a completion certificate showing they have completed paying up before they are allowed to harvest trees.

She said millers will have a meeting on September 12 to deliberate on the best approach to streamline the industry.

Kalenda said the service is struggling with limited funds. A great strain has been placed on KFS personnel, who protect 2.59 million hectares of gazetted forests and 170 million hectares of forest under county government, she said.

 Kalenda said the high cost of transporting and storing of exhibits, minimal fines by courts, including court orders to release impounded materials, are key challenges.

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